Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine receiving almost 800 responses to a survey I launched seventeen days ago. One hundred maybe or, if luck intervened, perhaps two hundred. Not 795 as of an hour ago.

Before launching, I had the good fortune to have Sarah Johnson of Reading The Past agree to write about it on her blog. I also knew of groups on LinkedIn, Facebook and Goodreads where I could post a link and I planned to connect with friends via email and post on my blogs and Twitter (@histfiction). But even with these various avenues, I knew that surveys typically have very low response rates.

The survey was designed to discover more about those who read historical fiction and those who do not – demographics, story preferences, favourite time periods, reasons for reading or not reading this genre, sources of recommendations and so on. Since I write historical fiction, I thought the information might be helpful to authors like me as well as others in the publishing industry. I imagined a few follow on blog posts and a tidbit or two of insight into those who love historical fiction. Instead, I have reams of data to sift and sort and formulate into conclusions; a degree in statistical analysis might be helpful!

Sarah’s endorsement on her blog and on Facebook created threads into other blogs. Twitter – both mine and Sarah’s – led to retweets. Friends passed the survey on to other friends. Carol K posted it on her blog, EdiFanoB posted it to folks in Europe, a friend of my husband gave it to his librarian wife who wanted to send it around to other librarians and so it went reaching folks in India, New Zealand, Australia, South America, Asia and elsewhere. Absolutely fascinating.

Note: one person responded from each of Middle East and South America – too small to show on the graph.

I’m sure that some reading this post will chuckle and call me naive – of course the internet and social media will carry the word – but this gal is amazed and grateful.

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4 Responses to “Survey takes on a life of its own”

  1. Kirstie says:

    What a great response. Yay, I wasn’t the only Aussie filling out the survey.
    What might have helped you is the survey was online. I know I hate surveys over phone or done in person but for some reason I love completing online ones. Not to lessen the power of social media of course.

  2. Mary says:

    Thanks, Kirstie. I am amazed at how many Aussies and Kiwis filled out the survey. I agree with you about the online part making it easy. I also tried to keep it fairly short! More results will come out when I have time to analyze.

  3. Downith says:

    Yay UK. When are you posting the results?

  4. Mary says:

    Should have summary results in the next few days. Then more in-depth analysis will follow. I closed the survey off on Tuesday.


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